The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has announced that two of their locomotives are featured in a series of artwork to celebrate Darlington railway heritage.
Darlington has strong connections with the rail industry, once being home to Locomotive Works run by the London North Eastern Railway (LNER), and in recent years the base for the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, who in 2008 completed the UK’s first new standard gauge locomotive since British Railways (BR) in 1960.
This engine being LNER / BR Eastern Region design Peppercorn A1 No.60163 “Tornado”. They are also in the build stage of another engine, LNER Gresley P2 design No.2007 “Prince of Wales”.
To celebrate these achievements, regional artist Andrew McKeown has created four metal signs based on four engines, these being:
- 60163 “Tornado”
- 2007 “Prince of Wales”
- Locomotion No.1
The artwork has been placed around the Haughton Road Roundabout, which has been recently redesigned. This location is a busy route around Darlington, hopefully meaning many people should see the new signs. To further make each piece visible, lighting has been installed.
This project has been a joint between Darlington Borough Council, A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and the Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway Group.
Leader of Darlington Borough Council Councillor Heather Scott said: “This exciting project sends out a positive statement to residents and visitors that Darlington is proud of its railway heritage, past and present. We need to look beyond the difficult times that the pandemic has placed us in and look ahead to a brighter future where we can celebrate our strengths as a borough, our rich railway heritage and our exciting future. This artwork will enrich our strong rail heritage offering and help to prepare the way to our local and regional celebrations of the bicentenary of the birth of the railways in 2025.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “While we’re investing more than £100million in Darlington and are creating good quality, well-paid jobs for local people in the town, it’s also important to recognise its rich heritage. This great installation will be one of many exciting celebrations we’re helping to deliver as part of the 200th anniversary of the first modern passenger railway, born right here.”
Paul Bruce from The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust which built Tornado and is building Prince of Wales in Darlington said: “We are delighted to have been part of this project which showcases Darlington’s rich past and also its exciting present in terms of rail heritage. Each of these locomotives in the installation shows how Darlington has been at the forefront and heart of locomotive development over the past two centuries. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is committed to the continued production of cutting-edge design steam locomotives in Darlington and we welcome the chance to be involved in this project and to celebrate the success of our locomotives Tornado and Prince of Wales.”
Chair of the Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway Niall Hammond said: “The Friends are delighted that this project has taken shape as part of a significant and ever-expanding programme of work taking place in the lead up to the 200th anniversary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, which opened on 27th September 1825 and marked the beginning of the modern railway age. We would like to thank everyone who made this possible, and, in particular, Friend Geoff Birse, whose carefully researched and accurate 3D drawings informed the Locomotion No. 1 sculpture. These art works link railways past with railways present and future and will serve to remind people of their proud heritage every time they pass by as they go about their daily lives.’
Artist Andrew McKeown said: ‘’The giant steel locomotion signs that I have designed, will celebrate Darlington’s fame as the birthplace of the railways. I am honoured to be a part of this local project which proudly welcomes visitors to Darlington.’’
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